Jamaican Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith will arrive at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today.
Today’s discussions are likely to center on poverty eradication, debt sustainability, better environmental management, and advancing women and children’s rights. Johnson Smith is also expected to conduct high-level talks with regional partners about Jamaica’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Jamaica’s SDG index score has remained virtually unchanged since 2018, and it is currently on track to meet only 3 of its 17 development goals. The country’s education quality index has declined in the last 10 years due to underinvestment in rural schools, teacher shortages in rural areas, and high drop-out rates due to teen pregnancy and poverty. In response, Jamaica has significantly increased investment in education, with government expenditure on education increasing from 5.2% of GDP in 2019 to 6% in 2022.
Johnson Smith will likely succeed in attracting short-term foreign investment and aid that will boost Jamaica’s education expenditure in 2023. Despite this increased investment, chronic poverty in rural areas will likely hinder Jamaica from improving its education quality indicator in the medium-term. Jamaica will likely fail to meet its SDG in education until its other rural/urban disparities are addressed.
Kyle is a Publisher and Analyst on the Analysis team. He specializes in foreign policy and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on Mexico and Central America.